TED Conversations

Jean-Charles Longuet

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Telling the truth: are there limits?

Two recent talks focused on "Truth" as something good/moral. Practically, however, some information may cause havoc: the Wikileaks diplomatic data disclosure, for example, coulad have put some people at risk.

How should we manage the decision to disclose (or not) such information? Or manage the moral dilemma when telling a lie may have a positive outcome?

[update 2012/11/25] The conversation initially mixed a few things : Truth is something that is not as obvious as it seems, and Lies are more related to a deceiving/manipulative intention that to the hiding of some Truth.

Anyway, all points of views are welcome.


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  • Nov 30 2012: If everyone is honest all the time, there would have been no reason to hide anything. There would be no danger if all is open and clear. To lie to someone not only harms them but harms yourself. You have to spend more resources on continuing the illusion. When you tell the truth, you do not have to remember what you said, and you do not have to be worried about what may be coming for you. If the truth causes that same trouble (example of pissing people off) you shouldn't have dealt with that violent and primitive person to begin with.

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